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es­pe­cially from the set-piece which is our strong­est at­tack­ing plat­form, that we didn’t take through bad ex­e­cu­tion.

“The game then should never have come down to be­ing de­cided by a con­tentious de­ci­sion and us not get­ting a penalty for that Owen Far­rell tackle. We had the op­por­tu­ni­ties to win it long be­fore then. The game should have been put away in the first half. That was the real dis­ap­point­ment for me and many South Africans. Our con­sis­tency needs to be ad­dressed.”

A vet­eran of the 2003 World Cup, Del­port be­lieves the cur­rent squad tour­ing Europe will pro­vide the back­bone of the 2019 World Cup party and be the ones chal­lenged with mak­ing the per­fect start in Ja­pan – where he him­self played for two years with Ko­belco Steel­ers.

“The core of the team will be at the World Cup,” added Thi­nus, a reg­u­lar on Sky Sports and Premier Sports. “It’s a long way off, but I don’t think there are any real out­siders likely to break through.

“The Twick­en­ham Test fell out­side the recog­nised win­dow for in­ter­na­tional games, so we played with­out our English Pre­mier­ship play­ers like Faf de Klerk, Wil­lie le Roux, Franco Mostert Vin­cent Koch and Fran­cois Louw, all recog­nised starters. Al­low­ing for in­juries, the guys on this tour will make up the ma­jor­ity of the squad for Ja­pan.

“Look­ing to next year, so much hinges on our open­ing World Cup match against New Zealand. We should be able to pull on the ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge we took from this sum­mer’s matches.

“We can turn them over but that is eas­ier said than done.” WAR­REN Gat­land hailed his Wales play­ers for dig­ging deep af­ter they ended their long los­ing run against Aus­tralia.

Wales’ 9-6 vic­tory at the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium was their first over Aus­tralia since 2008 and came at the 14th at­tempt.

Sub­sti­tute Dan Big­gar’s 77th-minute penalty also gave Wales a sev­enth win on the bounce against all op­po­nents – their long­est un­beaten run un­der Gat­land and best since 2004-05.

Head coach Gat­land ad­mit­ted: “I thought we were go­ing to lose in the last minute, but the boys dug deep.

“From a de­fen­sive point of view it was the most com­fort­able I have ever felt against Aus­tralia.”

Full-back Leigh Half­penny man­aged two suc­cess­ful strikes off the tee be­fore Big­gar edged Wales home af­ter Bernard Fo­ley and Matt Toomua kicked penal­ties for Aus­tralia.

Ar­gentina took an early 3-0 lead through a Ni­co­las Sanchez penalty but suc­cumbed to a 28-17 de­feat against Ire­land in Dublin.

Kieran Marmion bagged Ire­land’s first try in the ninth minute but Johnny Sexton failed to con­vert.

Wing Bautista Del­guy put Ar­gentina 11-6 in front, run­ning in a fine try for the Pu­mas but Bundee Aki pow­ered home for Ire­land’s sec­ond try, with Sexton conve rt­ing af­ter 26 min­utes.

A late Sexton penalty handed Ire­land an edgy 15-14 lead at the break.

Sexton then put Ire­land 18-17 to the good with a penalty.

Re­place­ment scrum-half Luke Mc­Grath nipped in for Ire­land’s third try with 15 min­utes to play, with Sexton on tar­get with the con­ver­sion.

A late Sexton penalty en­sured Ire­land com­pleted a 28-17 vic­tory.

Mean­while, Tom­maso Allan starred with 13 points as Italy came from be­hind to beat Ge­or­gia 28-17 in Florence. BY CRAIG EMER­SON ENG­LAND head coach Ed­die Jones was re­strained in his re­ac­tion to the Tele­vi­sion Match Official de­ci­sion that de­nied Eng­land vic­tory over New Zealand at Twick­en­ham yes­ter­day, in­stead in­sist­ing his side showed they can win the World Cup in Ja­pan next year.

Eng­land were trail­ing 16-15 af­ter 76 min­utes when Court­ney Lawes charged down TJ Per­e­nara’s kick and Sam Un­der­hill scooped up the ball be­fore surg­ing to a solo try.

How­ever, South African TMO Mar­ius Jonker and French ref­eree Jerome Garces re­viewed the in­ci­dent and de­cided Lawes was off­side.

Jones said: “I don’t comment on those de­ci­sions. I’ll leave it up to that guy. If he can’t take the right de­ci­sion with 10 re­plays, who can?

“Some­times the game loves you and some­times the game doesn’t love you. We’ll get some love from the game fur­ther down the track.”

New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen said: “There was no doubt he’s off­side. What was go­ing through my mind was ‘are they go­ing to be brave enough to make the right de­ci­sion?’ And they were.”

It was a first meet­ing be­tween Eng­land and New Zealand in four years and many ex­pected the All Blacks to trounce their in­jury-de­pleted hosts. But af­ter­wards it was Jones who in­sisted Eng­land were on course for World Cup glory.

Tries from Chris Ash­ton and Dy­lan Hart­ley helped Eng­land to a 15-0 lead af­ter 25 min­utes, which the All Blacks eroded with a flour­ish at the end of the first half. Beau­den Bar­rett’s penalty saw New Zealand take the lead for the first time in the game af­ter 60 min­utes and they did not re­lin­quish it.

But Jones was keen to ac­cen­tu­ate the pos­i­tives and look ahead to next year’s World Cup in Ja­pan.

“We’re dis­ap­pointed, but we’re ex­cited about where we’re go­ing,” Jones added. “We’ll learn a lot from that to­day. We had op­por­tu­ni­ties to win the game, we didn’t take them, they did. They de­served to win the game. It’s a re­ally good step for­ward. You bench­mark your­self against New Zealand. New Zealand are the best team in the world.

“We’ve got to fix the things that didn’t work to­day. If we do that, we’re on the road to be­ing the best team in the world, which is what we set out to be.”

Jones felt Eng­land were in the as­cen­dancy in the fi­nal quar­ter, when a drop-goal op­por­tu­nity failed to ma­te­ri­alise.

“I thought we played the fi­nal 20 [min­utes] ex­cep­tion­ally well,” Jones added. “That’s where New Zealand gen­er­ally run away from teams and they couldn’t – they couldn’t break us. If we’d kept go­ing for an­other five min­utes, we maybe would’ve got them.”

The All Blacks won the World Cup on their most re­cent visit to Twick­en­ham, in Oc­to­ber 2015, when Eng­land be­came the first hosts to exit at the pool stage. They have been trans­formed un­der Jones, who was ap­pointed in December 2015.

Hansen said: “He’s do­ing a good job here for Eng­land. Last time we were here was 2015 and things didn’t go that well for Eng­land.

“Since then they’ve won 18 in a row. They’re in the right place. They’ve showed to­day they’re go­ing to be com­pet­i­tive against who­ever you want to play against them.”

Hansen, though, had words of praise for his side too. He added: “I thought Eng­land were very, very good and I thought we showed a lot of char­ac­ter.”

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